Want to keep the TNW Conference vibe going?? Tickets for TNW2022 are available now >>

Your sardonic source for consumer tech stories

This article was published on April 15, 2021

TCL teased a phone that both folds and rolls, and I totally love it

It's a fun time for phone design

TCL teased a phone that both folds and rolls, and I totally love it
Napier Lopez
Story by

Napier Lopez

Reporter

Napier Lopez is a writer based in New York City. He's interested in all things tech, science, and photography related, and likes to yo-yo in Napier Lopez is a writer based in New York City. He's interested in all things tech, science, and photography related, and likes to yo-yo in his free time. Follow him on Twitter.

The past year or so has been one of the most interesting periods for smartphone design since the early days of iOS and Android. After the bezel wars of a few years ago, we’re now seeing companies explore wackier form factors that break the typical. We’ve seen phones that can fold and phones that can roll, so it was only a matter of time until somebody combined the two.

That’s precisely what TCL has done with its new “Fold ‘n Roll” concept. Behold (start around the 30-minute mark):

The device has a hinge that can both fold as well as unfurl the flexible screen tucked inside the body of the device, going from a 6.87-inch phone to a 10-inch tablet. It also appears to feature a stylus, at the bottom of the device, making it enticing for scribbling on the go.

Now, I should make it clear the Fold ‘n Roll is just a concept device. TCL didn’t give any specs or time frame for release. For all we know, this is little more than something marketing came up with to add a bit of pizzazz to TCL’s presentation; the company did not show off a working prototype, only renders.

 

 

The device also features an ‘outer’ screen, which means it’s more likely to get damaged with a pliable display like this.

Still, I absolutely love the idea. It gives you a bit more flexibility over your aspect ratio and form-factor than a folding or rollable phone on its own, but mostly, it just feels like the type of futuristic phones we might see in a sci-fi movie.

TCL does say it has a folding phone on the way this year, just not this one. One for 2022, perhaps?

Did you know we have a newsletter all about consumer tech? It’s called Plugged In – and you can subscribe to it right here.